Polling Booth: Exhibitionist Airport
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Polling Booth: Exhibitionist Airport

It turns out that technology once only dreamed about in the back of comic books is now a reality: T-ray scanners may soon be deployed at an airport near you, and they know what you look like naked. Transport Canada is now reviewing a six-month trial of the security scanners, which are currently only voluntary and are used only when someone has set off the metal detector. The subject’s body is scattered with terahertz radiation, which—unlike X-rays—are believed to be harmless to human tissue. A technician reviews the scanner results in a windowless room, and the resulting images are anonymous, incredibly unflattering, and decidedly unerotic. Images can’t be stored, faces are obscured, and cameras aren’t allowed in the viewing room. Still, opponents say that peering at nude bodies is even too extreme for already-excessive security theatre, and may even run afoul of child porn laws. According to a spokesperson from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, however, 95% of travellers in the Kelowna, B.C., trial preferred it. If approved by Transport Canada and the Canadian privacy commissioner, the high-tech peepshow could be coming to Toronto airports soon.

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